Tuesday, June 12, 2007

And now, notes from the Ivone Gebara lecture (again from johnieb, heavily annotated -- by the same johnieb)

A Summer Series post.

(Gebara is the woman on the left.)

All the comments in parentheses are from our intrepid Senior Stringer (unpaid and it's gonna stay that way, but there's a glass of wine in your future, when Godde and the cosmos bring us together sometime), johnieb, who in the last few hours put this in the comments section above. I am only his electronic amanuensis (you wouldn't want me to stop using fancy words just because I happen to be in California, would you?) so the responsibility is his. (Besides which, I don't capitalize Capitalism.) I have corrected a few typos. And I have put in italics the sentences that appear to be johnieb's comments. Correct me where I err, bro.

Y'all Want Some More Hot Sauce Wit Dem Beans and Rice, Doncha--Verde or Reg'lar? The Second Helping of the Theology Lecture Notes from Hartford Sem 06/06/07 Ivone Gebara

One of my special tasks is making inclusion. (OK, who could resist? What a bold and powerfully voiced insight! The gospel is simple, enough for children "God loves you and is with you." Ah, but the implications, no?)

We must remember: Theology itself is produced as a Capitalist commodity. (Look at your bookshelf, and deny. Or see the report on the Religious Booksellers event at Deirdre Good's blog, to the right; what? You want everything right here?)

All--women, the earth, society, men--is connected to all; to believe and act is difficult; the whole is fragile, and harmony of the parts is difficult to achieve. (A dynamic harmony is implied in several images later). There are many ways to repair this harmony in the world at all times; justice for women is such repair. (And also a blessed way of participating with God's Present Word in the Power of the HS? in historical time "For the time being: Zwischen den Zeiten." Luke-Acts.)

"Subject-Object" epistemology is an outmoded frame of reference for fruitful work; the new paradigm is wholistic/holistic (?), interdependent, done as praxis of participants (Who, Ms. Ecclesiologist?). Some theology has become a pollutant, which harms the whole/(holy?) body (Body of Christ and the Redeemed Creation.) Male domination, greed/competition are examples of the results of theological (Results?!) pollution.

Apartheid, especially in some churches (audience: growing chuckles), OK, you know which ones, especially of women is theological pollution. Correcting our theological anthropology (Androgynology?) cleans up cultural pollution of the Patriarchy and Capitalism: garbage (or the Philippians expression Paul uses, which even Fred Craddock admits means "sh*t", in his charming way. Capitalist Patriarchs! Yo S**T Stink!).

In theological s**t, God is assumed to be "super"natural. Who? What God is this? Our God is Immanent. (The first song, and first thing I remember learning in church, starts "Jesus loves the little children")

What was the Pope saying in Brazil, about "non-violence"? Theology is non-violent. ( I noted the visit was roughly contemporaneous, but no more; perhaps a more knowledgeable observer?) Does tradition need to be "re-interpreted"? ( I think "changed or junked"; call me "old radical", hmmph.) Unconsciously maintaining theological power is the face of pollution. (Has it been an advantage to be a woman as a theologian, in that the Face of Power wasn't paying attention to da Wymynzz! Tsk. Excuses never sound good from unsuccessful dictators. Speaking of which, when was the last time an ex-President didn't bother with a memoir? I digress.)

Theology must be more inclusive and locally meaningful; Universal (ontologically?) meaning must be expressed in local concrete ways: inclusion in Incarnation. This may mean digging deeply into the tradition to re-think the basics: tradition. Christology, etc.

Some questions perhaps towards a synthesis, remembering the traps come from Capitalism and Patriarchy, especially as they dominate women. (and the rest of reality, including gender/ identity sexual roles, as in TEC?)

(I kept thinking of Lettie Russell's reflections which I read more than twenty years ago *Household of Freedom*, and the Image of God/dess in Wisdom literature: the Divine Estate Manager. More I shall not say in public)

To follow, in Part the Third, coming up: "Whatch'all having for a dessert/ nightcap, Cher?"

-- johnieb



johnieb said...

Looking back, as perhaps I should do if anyone else is to make sense of them, the following is my random thoughts,

And also a blessed way of participating with God's Present Word in the Power of the HS? in historical time "For the time being: Zwischen den Zeiten." Luke-Acts.)

As is the question Ontologically? after Universalism in the third paragraph up.

No Caps? As the proper name of an ideology, if not "thought?" I'm prepared to yield the point: just wonder what's the thinking.

It's late in CT.

Peaceful night, Blessed end

Jane R said...

Thanks johnieb, duly corrected.

The capitalization is just a usage thing. I left it as you wrote it. I understand better why you capitalize it since you describe it as an ideology -- which it is. I don't capitalize it when I talk about it because I speak of it as a system (both practical and ideological). But perhaps I ought, to point out that the market has become our contemporary idol.

johnieb said...

I'm guessing at the direction you may take that, given your fondness for Gebara, and your earlier Stringfellow post. I must read Walter Wink, I think, which I think periodically, but lie down until it passes. I have no outlet; oh, blank: I mean it, y'all; I don'twannadamnedblog!

How did y'all learn how to run one of these little typewriter TVs? I think I was the last generation of grad student that had to do it BPC (or BMAC, if you prefer; as I say, I'm too ignr'nt to offer much help there.)

johnieb said...

Conclusion of Gebara and Q&A with G(ebara) and A(moah): Pushing on To The End, May't Please God, At Least.

Concrete Aspects of Capitalist Patriarchy's Domination, with examples from a EcoFeminist perspective: conclusion of Gebara Notes

"Ecological" or "environmental" doesn't mean opposition to Capitalist Patriarchy's (CP) domination of women, the earth, and others; the CP uses cultural and social appropriation of hierarchical control norms. The CP is based, theologically on the theological s**t: the Patriarchal Creator Dominant god. It is Theology's specific task to change this.

Thus, capitalist consumerist slogans "Help/ Save 'Mother' Earth" hide the assumptions upon which it is based, as "Human Activity Threatens Mother Earth" which means, on the surface, "take care of the environment" but with the sub-text "human" (male) activity harms the Feminine Earth."

This may be eroticized (?) in Patriarchal terms of comparing the Bountiful Earth with Female Reproduction and thus of Patriarchal control. But life is complex and interdependent, so who is hurting whom in this?

The psychological problem of patriarchal guilt drives the appeal of such "feminine" images in the Patriarchy. Mining or Destructive plundering of the Environment may be compared to rape, or recovery efforts to healing , satisfying altruistic impulses, or in the hackneyed "Virgin" forest. (Mayn't this aspect of Patriarchy be interpreted by women as living with her Patriarchally defined and supported abuser?)

We need a new vision of humankind in theology, beyond the limited ones of Patriarchal tradition. Perhaps an image of our common body God's Living Creation, though our incarnate nature reminds us of its complex interdependence and our mixed participation as finite parts of the whole.

Questions/ Answers

Q: What in your life awakened your "thirst for justice?"

A: I think I always saw things as they were, (without illusions? Straightforwardly and practically?)
I think the difference is in the public platforms now open to us.

G: Throughout my life, a sense of compassion at the suffering of others, which hurts. I came to see the shadow of the system is very heavy, and is linked to this suffering, so I think, and write, and speak, etc.

Does A have conflicts with "Church" and "state" roles?

The conflict is over the term "feminism", and that it comes from women. Corruption is the most powerful manifestation of CP in Ghana.

G: "Feminist" is not our issue; there is a Ministry of Women in each constituent state, and we have good relations with the government since the defeat of the Fascist dictators of the Seventies, or thereabouts. (The government is Socialist; I do have old radical chops to maintain, after all.)

"Feminism" is a strong force for reform, especially in the more developed, but still rural, areas. There are developed sub-groups, such as Afro-Brazilian Feminism. Reform focuses currently on revision of sexist law in rights.

Things are awful in the church, especially the Roman church.

In response to other questions I didn't note:
G: We need to re-think the most deeply basic theological questions, such as Christology and Tradition. We have been too uncritical about what we believe about the submission of women.

In Christian tradition and culture, the most beautiful values have a male face--Jesus, the Prophets, then (finally) women. The opposing values--war and competition-- are masculine, not male. Such cultural pollution pollutes our soul, our "inner" life. Christianity often presents a polluted face.

The U S celebration of wealth and hyperabundance is cultural pollution. I see my role as "theological clean-up." (A delightful and humble image of Holy Wisdom, the Manager of God's realm, Sophia of the Toilet Brush or of the UN, or as Primate, inter alles: her sisters.)

A: We must examine the ways we have lived; we are products of that history, in all its rich particulars. Therefore, our change is never a complete break with our paths with God, but is embedded in it. The tendency may sometimes be to "play victim" and not step up to our obligation to bear our witness.
All such change is "in part" for incarnate beings as such.

G: (Picking up the thread)

We have a mixed reality as human beings. What feminism reveals is the feminine hitherto silenced or put down: such things as caring for others, education for children and health before bombs. We silence those who traditionally most represent "feminine": women.

We speak out to re-build this neglected aspect, but when we do, men do not come. Men's affairs are ours, but ours are not men's; this points up the need for conversion: to be better. New man, new woman, new earth.

Q: What is the role of organized religion in wider justice movements?

G: It's a new era. Churches were leaders in the rights struggles, and attracted many supporters. With the arrival of democracy and political reforms, church has become less important to the the independent justice movements, which are flourishing on their own. Overall, the churches failed to evolve in good directions.

Ahhhh. Feels good. But it's too late to get to the bookstore; I feel I owe everyone a look towards "theological commodities"! You were certainly correct about "the richness of the mixture; next time may I suggest we just start with an assigned text? :)

johnieb said...

SENIOR Stringer? Hmmph: maybe a few months of writing would be better?

Yeah, don't we wish? Before you vanish, the woman on the right looks familiar, but I can't place why, much less who. Please answer the question before pulling up the rope (h/t St Simeon Stylities, who OUGHT to be the patron of writers!)

Jane R said...

Senior on a news staff means a high status; it can also (occasionally) indicate a consulting status. You didn't know this? Look at your latest Time or Newsweek...

In the picture are, from left to right: Ivone Gebara, Chung Hyun Kyung, Elizabeth (Beth) Johnson. All feminist theologians and internationally known. I'll let you look them up :-).

johnieb said...

Thanks. I believe I owned a book of Johnson's once.

I can't read Time or Newsweek, especially Time.